NSWGR proposed 2-6-8-0 Locomotive

 
  M636C Minister for Railways

There was some interest in this locomotive elsewhere on the web. I thought I could make some comments.

This proposed locomotive appeared on a diagram dated 31 May 1933.This diagram is reproduced on page 86 of Craig Mackey’s book The 57s and 58s. An artist’s impression was also prepared of this design, which suggests that the proposal was reviewed by management. I wrote an article on this locomotive in the Australian Model Railway Magazine for April 1997, page 81, where the artist’s impression was reproduced.


One question that immediately comes to mind is “why was the odd wheel arrangement selected?” In fact, a similar 2-8-8-0 diagram was also prepared at the same time, but this probably had weight distribution problems. The most likely explanation of the 2-6-8-0 wheel arrangement being selected is that during 1931, the US Great Northern Railway converted some 1910 built 2-6-8-0 locomotives into (very large) 2-8-2 locomotives using the original boiler. This was covered in the US Railway trade press at the time, and it is assumed that someone in the NSWGR drawing office saw the article and realised that the reverse operation, using a modified 57 class boiler on a 2-6-8-0 chassis, was possible.

The Great Northern 2-6-8-0 locomotives were their class M-2 and were simple articulated locomotives, having been converted from class M-1 Mallet compounds dating from 1910 only a few years earlier in 1927-29. Several of these M-2s were rebuilt to Class O-7 2-8-2s, but a number continued to operate as simple articulated locomotives on secondary routes until replaced by diesel locomotives.


The NSWGR proposal was to use a modified 57 class boiler mounted on the frames of 55 class locomotives combined into a simple articulated chassis. Both sets of cylinders were to be fitted with smaller diameter cylinder liners, 18-1/4 inches for the leading engine and 19-3/4 inches for the trailing unit, compared to the 22 inches on a 55 class. This arrangement, along with a reduction of the boiler pressure to 180 lbf/sq. in. produced a nominal tractive effort of 56 000 lbf, the same as that of a 57 class, taking into account a reduction due to the limited cut-off on the 57 class.


The estimated weight of the locomotive was 119 tons, with exactly 16 tons on each driving axle and 7 tons on the leading truck. Given that a 57 class weighed around 139 tons, I suspect that this might be an underestimation, given that there were two sets of cylinders and rods. The plate frames of the 55 class would be lighter than the 57 class cast engine bed, but there were two sets of 55 class frames and presumably a substantial cast set of hinges to link the two frames. I feel that this arrangement might be around ten tons heavier than the diagram estimate. The tender is shown as weighing 89 tons, (although the identical 57 class tender is shown as weighing 95 tons) with a reduction to 64 tons on branch lines, which could be achieved by reducing the coal carried to 7 tons and the water carried to 5000 gallons from the original 14 tons and 9000 gallons.


The diagram has a number of inconsistencies. The boiler dimensions listed are those of a standard 57 class boiler, but the diagram shows a much shallower firebox to clear the trailing driving wheels. It is possible to design a successful boiler with a shallow firebox, the British Railways 9F 2-10-0 being an example. But comparing the 9F firebox to that of the 7MT Britannia, the grate area is significantly smaller and the firebox heating surface is reduced. Looking at the boiler as drawn on the 2-6-8-0 diagram, the grate area would be smaller by around ten square feet and the heating surface would be reduced by around fifty square feet compared to the 57 class boiler.


So the 2-6-8-0 diagram can only be regarded as preliminary, since it does not represent a consistent design. This doesn’t mean that a workable design could not be produced, but there is no evidence that any detail design was carried out.


However, the idea of a locomotive that could haul a 57 class load on light track eventually led to the AD60 Beyer Garratt. These were designed with a variable axle load, by adjusting the load carried by the leading and trailing bogies so they were able to operate on branch lines, but when on main lines (after a visit to workshops) they could make use of an increased adhesive weight. There can be little doubt that the Beyer Garratt was a more useful locomotive than a simple articulated locomotive as shown in the diagram.

Peter

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  WimbledonW Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney

The Great Northern 2-6-8-0 locomotives were their class M-2 and were simple articulated locomotives, having been converted from class M-1 Mallet compounds dating from 1910 only a few years earlier in 1927-29. Several of these M-2s were rebuilt to Class O-7 2-8-2s, but a number continued to operate as simple articulated locomotives on secondary routes until replaced by diesel locomotives.
M636C
British Rail had an odd wheel arrangement in one class of diesels, thus Bo-Co.

What was BR thinking?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik

The Great Northern 2-6-8-0 locomotives were their class M-2 and were simple articulated locomotives, having been converted from class M-1 Mallet compounds dating from 1910 only a few years earlier in 1927-29. Several of these M-2s were rebuilt to Class O-7 2-8-2s, but a number continued to operate as simple articulated locomotives on secondary routes until replaced by diesel locomotives.British Rail had an odd wheel arrangement in one class of diesels, thus Bo-Co.

What was BR thinking?
WimbledonW
Perhaps laterally to achieve a desired axleload outcome.

Here in Australia:
  • CR had at least one NG passenger car with a six wheel bogie under one end and a four wheel bogie under the other.
  • The Victorian A2s have different bogies under the tender tank end from the bunker end.
  • The CR AQEY 2-pack artics have/had a 70 ton middle bogie and 50 ton end bogies.
  WimbledonW Chief Train Controller

Location: Sydney

Perhaps laterally to achieve a desired axleload outcome.
YM-Mundrabilla
That is what Wiki says about BR class 28 Bo-Co. SmileSmile

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-Bo
  georges Chief Train Controller

An interesting older overview (published1935) of articulated steam locos - https://www.railwaywondersoftheworld.com/articulated-locos.html
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
The B&O have a number of locos of this type reading https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/baltimore-ohio-2680-kl1 sets out the benefits and why the B&O had a good reputation for tackling engineering challenges.
  M636C Minister for Railways

The B&O have a number of locos of this type reading https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/baltimore-ohio-2680-kl1 sets out the benefits and why the B&O had a good reputation for tackling engineering challenges.
8077
In fact, the B&O only had one 2-6-8-0.

It was rebuilt from a class E-24 2-8-0 in 1911 by adding a new section of boiler in place of the smokebox which contained a large feed water heater, carried on a 2-6-0 chassis that had the low pressure cylinders. This only operated until 1917, when it was converted back to a 2-8-0. The 2-8-0 was scrapped in 1937. As a 2-6-8-0 it was numbered 2421, but was later renumbered 7010. It was renumbered back to 2308 as a 2-8-0

The E-24, originally class I-7 was built while the B&O was controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the E-24 was a copy of the PRR H-7 2-8-0, seen in the Belpaire firebox which was rarely used on the B&O, although there was a contemporary 4-4-2 also built to PRR drawings.

The Great Northern also had a single locomotive like this converted from 2-8-0 number 1254 and was renumbered 2000.
It was eventually rebuilt as an 0-8-0 switcher number 870.

The later GN locomotives were built as 2-6-8-0 compound Mallet locomotives. These could be regarded as a development of the 2-6-6-2 which was quite popular in the USA. In most of these designs, the firebox extended over the trailing driving wheels, so replacing the trailing truck with an additional coupled axle didn't require changes to the boiler, while increasing the adhesive weight significantly. This of course required larger high pressure cylinders, than a 2-6-6-2. This only became noticeable when the locomotives were converted to simple expansion, so the cylinders on the leading engine were smaller (instead of much larger as seen on a compound).

Peter
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

There was some interest in this locomotive elsewhere on the web. I thought I could make some comments.

This proposed locomotive appeared on a diagram dated 31 May 1933.This diagram is reproduced on page 86 of Craig Mackey’s book The 57s and 58s. An artist’s impression was also prepared of this design, which suggests that the proposal was reviewed by management. I wrote an article on this locomotive in the Australian Model Railway Magazine for April 1997, page 81, where the artist’s impression was reproduced.


One question that immediately comes to mind is “why was the odd wheel arrangement selected?” In fact, a similar 2-8-8-0 diagram was also prepared at the same time, but this probably had weight distribution problems. The most likely explanation of the 2-6-8-0 wheel arrangement being selected is that during 1931, the US Great Northern Railway converted some 1910 built 2-6-8-0 locomotives into (very large) 2-8-2 locomotives using the original boiler. This was covered in the US Railway trade press at the time, and it is assumed that someone in the NSWGR drawing office saw the article and realised that the reverse operation, using a modified 57 class boiler on a 2-6-8-0 chassis, was possible.

The Great Northern 2-6-8-0 locomotives were their class M-2 and were simple articulated locomotives, having been converted from class M-1 Mallet compounds dating from 1910 only a few years earlier in 1927-29. Several of these M-2s were rebuilt to Class O-7 2-8-2s, but a number continued to operate as simple articulated locomotives on secondary routes until replaced by diesel locomotives.




The NSWGR proposal was to use a modified 57 class boiler mounted on the frames of 55 class locomotives combined into a simple articulated chassis. Both sets of cylinders were to be fitted with smaller diameter cylinder liners, 18-1/4 inches for the leading engine and 19-3/4 inches for the trailing unit, compared to the 22 inches on a 55 class. This arrangement, along with a reduction of the boiler pressure to 180 lbf/sq. in. produced a nominal tractive effort of 56 000 lbf, the same as that of a 57 class, taking into account a reduction due to the limited cut-off on the 57 class.


The estimated weight of the locomotive was 119 tons, with exactly 16 tons on each driving axle and 7 tons on the leading truck. Given that a 57 class weighed around 139 tons, I suspect that this might be an underestimation, given that there were two sets of cylinders and rods. The plate frames of the 55 class would be lighter than the 57 class cast engine bed, but there were two sets of 55 class frames and presumably a substantial cast set of hinges to link the two frames. I feel that this arrangement might be around ten tons heavier than the diagram estimate. The tender is shown as weighing 89 tons, (although the identical 57 class tender is shown as weighing 95 tons) with a reduction to 64 tons on branch lines, which could be achieved by reducing the coal carried to 7 tons and the water carried to 5000 gallons from the original 14 tons and 9000 gallons.


The diagram has a number of inconsistencies. The boiler dimensions listed are those of a standard 57 class boiler, but the diagram shows a much shallower firebox to clear the trailing driving wheels. It is possible to design a successful boiler with a shallow firebox, the British Railways 9F 2-10-0 being an example. But comparing the 9F firebox to that of the 7MT Britannia, the grate area is significantly smaller and the firebox heating surface is reduced. Looking at the boiler as drawn on the 2-6-8-0 diagram, the grate area would be smaller by around ten square feet and the heating surface would be reduced by around fifty square feet compared to the 57 class boiler.


So the 2-6-8-0 diagram can only be regarded as preliminary, since it does not represent a consistent design. This doesn’t mean that a workable design could not be produced, but there is no evidence that any detail design was carried out.


However, the idea of a locomotive that could haul a 57 class load on light track eventually led to the AD60 Beyer Garratt. These were designed with a variable axle load, by adjusting the load carried by the leading and trailing bogies so they were able to operate on branch lines, but when on main lines (after a visit to workshops) they could make use of an increased adhesive weight. There can be little doubt that the Beyer Garratt was a more useful locomotive than a simple articulated locomotive as shown in the diagram.

Peter

These proposals need to be viewed in context. In the 'Steam Locomotive Data' book produced by the NSWPTC there are some 39 proposed locomotives many of which are clearly just explorations of 'what ifs' and not really serious proposals. They range from an 0-6-0+0-6-0  2'-6" gauge garratt to a 4-8-4 and a 4-4-4-4 duplex. There is even a 4-8-4 using AD60 engines with a 59 class boiler. There are a number of proposals using the 57 class boiler, the two articulateds and a 4-6-4 Hudson.  Perhaps the 'most likely to succeed' was the rebuilding of the 32 class with outside Walschaerts valve gear and new cabs. Many of the proposals are explorations of what was the latest thing in the USA and others were to overcome the constraints placed on locomotive development by the loading gauge and bridge weaknesses.
Looking through these the frustration Young must have felt at the inertia of the Commissioner and the Civil Engineer's failure to improve the civil structure comes out. He clearly wanted something better than the 38 to meet the requirements of the Traffic Branch but the 38 was all that would fit. In the end the desire to eliminate double heading on heavy mail and expresses was not met, but could have been had Hartigan (the Commissioner) been as innovative with his Department Heads as he himself was with accounting.
M636C
  M636C Minister for Railways

Peter

These proposals need to be viewed in context. In the 'Steam Locomotive Data' book produced by the NSWPTC there are some 39 proposed locomotives many of which are clearly just explorations of 'what ifs' and not really serious proposals. They range from an 0-6-0+0-6-0  2'-6" gauge garratt to a 4-8-4 and a 4-4-4-4 duplex. There is even a 4-8-4 using AD60 engines with a 59 class boiler. There are a number of proposals using the 57 class boiler, the two articulateds and a 4-6-4 Hudson.  Perhaps the 'most likely to succeed' was the rebuilding of the 32 class with outside Walschaerts valve gear and new cabs. Many of the proposals are explorations of what was the latest thing in the USA and others were to overcome the constraints placed on locomotive development by the loading gauge and bridge weaknesses.
Looking through these the frustration Young must have felt at the inertia of the Commissioner and the Civil Engineer's failure to improve the civil structure comes out. He clearly wanted something better than the 38 to meet the requirements of the Traffic Branch but the 38 was all that would fit. In the end the desire to eliminate double heading on heavy mail and expresses was not met, but could have been had Hartigan (the Commissioner) been as innovative with his Department Heads as he himself was with accounting.

Neill Farmer

Neill

I first saw the artist's impression of the 2-6-8-0, before the steam locomotive data book was published. I think that meant that the proposal was at least considered outside the drawing office. Many of these proposals clearly were not. I had expected that the boiler changes would have been included in the diagram if the locomotive was being seriously considered.

Some drawings were manipulated to make some proposals appear to be unacceptable.
I have an original Lima Locomotive Works diagram of the 1939 4-8-4 proposal.
An NSWGR version of this diagram appears on page 90 of the 57s and 58s book.
It is immediately obvious that the boiler mountings (chimney, sand dome and dome) appear much taller than on the Lima drawing. Checking the dimensions on the diagrams, the Lima diagram shows the locomotive to be 14 feet tall but the NSWGR version is 14' 6" tall, making it unacceptably tall. While I can believe someone got the dimension wrong, altering the drawing intentionally suggests a campaign to exclude a particular locomotive.

One thing not generally mentioned is the failure of the original 36 class boiler. The combination of radial stays and a copper inner firebox resuled in relatively early failure of the firebox. The VR S class had the same problem, and S303 was built with a steel inner firebox. But by the early 1930s, only 12 of the 75 36 class were available for service, the others requiring repair. This is why superheated 32 class were used on the Newcastle Flyer from 1929.

So about this time a number of proposals to modify the 36 class appeared, converting them to a Pacific type (diagram on page 86 of 57s and 58s) and another proposal fitting a 57 boiler to a 36 chassis as a 4-6-4.  By 1934, a 36 boiler with a steel inner firebox and direct staying had been produced and the problem went away. I think the 36 class with the new fireboxes were painted green to show that they could be used on important passenger trains at this time.

The Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway rebuilt some 4-6-0s contemporary with the 32 class in the late 1930s with a completely new chassis (in fact the same chassis as used later on the 12K class Pacifics) forming the 12G class.  This provided a locomotive suitable for secondary and branch line passenger services. It might have been possible to fit a 32 boiler to a 36 class chassis, possibly with smaller coupled wheels and smaller cylinders.

Peter
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

I agree that maybe there were some politics going on. Young would have known that the ever conservative Hartigan would have knocked back the express Algerian garratt out of hand, but he presented it to him, electric valve gear and French streamlining included. A more considered approach using BP examples, experience and backing may have got up.
The 36 class was obsolete when built. In addition to the faults you mention, a small grate, narrow firebox, plate framed 4-6-0 was not going to handle the rough work expected of it. It should have been a bar framed (cast frames were still in their infancy then) light pacific with a wide steel firebox.
Then along comes the 57 class, it really was an up to date design, almost as big a step ahead as the French garratt. I think the only criticism one could make of the 57s was that it did not have a combustion chamber. The USRA locomoties were all very conservative but even so, all had combustion chambers when designed in 1917. There were disadvantages with combustion chambers, it greatly increased the number of stays required and hence greater first cost and maintenance, but it did improve boiler output and efficiency and slightly reduced the weight around the firebox.
I have done some basic numbers on a 4-8-4. I think that one could have been built for NSW but there were some compromises to be made, increased stroke and 300 psi boiler in order to get the TE with small diameter cylinders.
All good fun thinking of what drove past decisions, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Take care.
Neill
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Peter

These proposals need to be viewed in context. In the 'Steam Locomotive Data' book produced by the NSWPTC there are some 39 proposed locomotives many of which are clearly just explorations of 'what ifs' and not really serious proposals. They range from an 0-6-0+0-6-0  2'-6" gauge garratt to a 4-8-4 and a 4-4-4-4 duplex. There is even a 4-8-4 using AD60 engines with a 59 class boiler. There are a number of proposals using the 57 class boiler, the two articulateds and a 4-6-4 Hudson.  Perhaps the 'most likely to succeed' was the rebuilding of the 32 class with outside Walschaerts valve gear and new cabs. Many of the proposals are explorations of what was the latest thing in the USA and others were to overcome the constraints placed on locomotive development by the loading gauge and bridge weaknesses.
Looking through these the frustration Young must have felt at the inertia of the Commissioner and the Civil Engineer's failure to improve the civil structure comes out. He clearly wanted something better than the 38 to meet the requirements of the Traffic Branch but the 38 was all that would fit. In the end the desire to eliminate double heading on heavy mail and expresses was not met, but could have been had Hartigan (the Commissioner) been as innovative with his Department Heads as he himself was with accounting.

Neill Farmer

Neill

I first saw the artist's impression of the 2-6-8-0, before the steam locomotive data book was published. I think that meant that the proposal was at least considered outside the drawing office. Many of these proposals clearly were not. I had expected that the boiler changes would have been included in the diagram if the locomotive was being seriously considered.

Some drawings were manipulated to make some proposals appear to be unacceptable.
I have an original Lima Locomotive Works diagram of the 1939 4-8-4 proposal.
An NSWGR version of this diagram appears on page 90 of the 57s and 58s book.
It is immediately obvious that the boiler mountings (chimney, sand dome and dome) appear much taller than on the Lima drawing. Checking the dimensions on the diagrams, the Lima diagram shows the locomotive to be 14 feet tall but the NSWGR version is 14' 6" tall, making it unacceptably tall. While I can believe someone got the dimension wrong, altering the drawing intentionally suggests a campaign to exclude a particular locomotive.

One thing not generally mentioned is the failure of the original 36 class boiler. The combination of radial stays and a copper inner firebox resuled in relatively early failure of the firebox. The VR S class had the same problem, and S303 was built with a steel inner firebox. But by the early 1930s, only 12 of the 75 36 class were available for service, the others requiring repair. This is why superheated 32 class were used on the Newcastle Flyer from 1929.

So about this time a number of proposals to modify the 36 class appeared, converting them to a Pacific type (diagram on page 86 of 57s and 58s) and another proposal fitting a 57 boiler to a 36 chassis as a 4-6-4.  By 1934, a 36 boiler with a steel inner firebox and direct staying had been produced and the problem went away. I think the 36 class with the new fireboxes were painted green to show that they could be used on important passenger trains at this time.

The Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway rebuilt some 4-6-0s contemporary with the 32 class in the late 1930s with a completely new chassis (in fact the same chassis as used later on the 12K class Pacifics) forming the 12G class.  This provided a locomotive suitable for secondary and branch line passenger services. It might have been possible to fit a 32 boiler to a 36 class chassis, possibly with smaller coupled wheels and smaller cylinders.

Peter
M636C
'... It might have been possible to fit a 32 boiler to a 36 class chassis, possibly with smaller coupled wheels and smaller cylinders.
...'

Just curious.
What role would such an animal fill and what benefits would such a loco have over the already existing ubiquitous 32 class apart from Walschaert valve gear, please?
  lowtensionearth Station Staff

Just curious.
What role would such an animal fill and what benefits would such a loco have over the already existing ubiquitous 32 class apart from Walschaert valve gear, please?
YM-Mundrabilla

Continual fleet improvement, much improved servicing arrangements, the abililty of the engine to be worked harder with increased mileages to name a few.

A less conservative administration would have been well served when the 32 class reframing was undertaken to alter the design to  have outside Walschaert valve gear with new cylinders and outside piston valves and altered ash pan arrangment. Taking it further a new cab (rebuilt 35 class as an example) would have improved cab conditions. Other than cost and attitude there's little reason all this could not have been done when the class was reframed.

It's also why I give little serious credence to the Mallet and Lima proposals ever seriously succedding. As Mackey well described, Lima tried hard with their proposal but without a different attitude within the ranks of the NSWGR the machine was never likely to progress from the drawing board stage.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Just curious.
What role would such an animal fill and what benefits would such a loco have over the already existing ubiquitous 32 class apart from Walschaert valve gear, please?

Continual fleet improvement, much improved servicing arrangements, the abililty of the engine to be worked harder with increased mileages to name a few.

A less conservative administration would have been well served when the 32 class reframing was undertaken to alter the design to  have outside Walschaert valve gear with new cylinders and outside piston valves and altered ash pan arrangment. Taking it further a new cab (rebuilt 35 class as an example) would have improved cab conditions. Other than cost and attitude there's little reason all this could not have been done when the class was reframed.

It's also why I give little serious credence to the Mallet and Lima proposals ever seriously succedding. As Mackey well described, Lima tried hard with their proposal but without a different attitude within the ranks of the NSWGR the machine was never likely to progress from the drawing board stage.
lowtensionearth

A point to remember is that new frames were being fitted to members of the 32 class every year from around 1935 until 1955. At least towards the end, Clyde Engineering were supplying complete sets of frames and wheels, to which an existing boiler and cab was fitted.

The proposal to fit new frames with more modern cylinders and more accessible valve gear would not have cost more (or not much more) and is likely to have increased the availability and reduced the servicing time and cost that would more than compensate for any extra cost.

I have actually seen one of the Argentine 12G class locomotives, one is preserved in an outer suburb of Buenos Aires. The BAGSR had much less money available for repair and maintenance than the NSWGR and needed to get value for what little money they had.

With a little thought, all of the 50 and 53 class could have been fitted with 55 class frames and cylinders,  possibly with Walschearts gear, although Southern gear was said to be very economical to maintain and had fewer wearing parts. After all, they all ended up with the same boiler... An improved cab wouldn't have gone astray there, either.

Peter
  lowtensionearth Station Staff

I can’t admit to having any experience with the 55 class. Older enginemen that I was lucky to work with early in my career seemed to fall into two divides. Some drivers in my home depot where they had been common seemed to rate them quite highly but those who I meet elsewhere that weren’t as familiar generally dislike them. They did tend to agree that they were not a T or TF and needed to be treated as such, however. Also when they were in need of attention they could be heavy on coal and water.

I was very fortunate in the last ten years in the United States to have some very enjoyable experiences with Southern Railroad 630 on fan trips which is fitted with Southern Gear. The TVRM crew who maintained the engine tended to agree that Southern was a fine valve gear for freight service but that it was not as maintenance free as generally believed. Although 630 was very well looked after by the TVRM crew, memberes relayed that if left to its own devices, it showed signs of developing lateral movement potentially impacting on its timing, coal and water use. J.W Knowles in his book Queensland Railways Steam Locomotive 1900 – 1969: Design and Operation makes many valid points about valve gear maintenance on the QR and I feel the same could be made about our other railway systems. The same concerns about lateral movement were made about QR’s only Southern fitted locomotive too. My experience with 630 leads me to think that Southern was a fine valve gear but possibly not as infallible as it was marketed to be and fell short of some of our maintenance regimes.

I am in agreeance on the rebuilding of the 50, 53 and 55 classes. In hindsight there is little reason why they all could not have been rebuilt to an improved type of the same class.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I can’t admit to having any experience with the 55 class. Older enginemen that I was lucky to work with early in my career seemed to fall into two divides. Some drivers in my home depot where they had been common seemed to rate them quite highly but those who I meet elsewhere that weren’t as familiar generally dislike them. They did tend to agree that they were not a T or TF and needed to be treated as such, however. Also when they were in need of attention they could be heavy on coal and water.

I was very fortunate in the last ten years in the United States to have some very enjoyable experiences with Southern Railroad 630 on fan trips which is fitted with Southern Gear. The TVRM crew who maintained the engine tended to agree that Southern was a fine valve gear for freight service but that it was not as maintenance free as generally believed. Although 630 was very well looked after by the TVRM crew, memberes relayed that if left to its own devices, it showed signs of developing lateral movement potentially impacting on its timing, coal and water use. J.W Knowles in his book Queensland Railways Steam Locomotive 1900 – 1969: Design and Operation makes many valid points about valve gear maintenance on the QR and I feel the same could be made about our other railway systems. The same concerns about lateral movement were made about QR’s only Southern fitted locomotive too. My experience with 630 leads me to think that Southern was a fine valve gear but possibly not as infallible as it was marketed to be and fell short of some of our maintenance regimes.

I am in agreeance on the rebuilding of the 50, 53 and 55 classes. In hindsight there is little reason why they all could not have been rebuilt to an improved type of the same class.
lowtensionearth
Its a long time since I was on a katie, in their later days, & IIRC there were only 8 left in service, by the time of becoming an A/F the number was down to 6, all allocated to Enfield and worked on locals, the longest trips I had on them was to Penrith & Hornsby, until the last one when a tour to Kiama was arranged & I travelled passenger to Wollongong to work as fireman with Charlie Morris as driver back to Sydney yard, we ran tender first to Thiroul, turned there and engine first the rest of the way. I am not sure of the actual loco number but could have been either 93 or 95, a wampu tender was put on for the trip.

This was the longest working I had on the katies, and with the wampu tender making the work somewhat harder as the shoveling plate was a bit lower than on the other tenders, the amount of coal in the tender was also down, but some shovel forward helped a bit, taking water at Thiroul also had us straight through to Sydney terminal, I don't remember that we took water at Waterfall though.

Charlie worked the firehole door for me as we got near Helensburg as the coal was a long reach, once out of Waterfall very little braking was done as it certainly helped in getting a fair degree of coal shaken down to the front.  All that aside, of the katies I worked on, I found all of them were much rougher riding than the other freighters, something that I heard most drivers speak of regarding them, the best part of them from the firemans perspective was when preparing them we did not have to go underneath to oil the valve gear, unlike the 50's & 53's, to which many of them had belly plate leaks as you climbed up to the eccentrics and balanced on the pit top ledges.

While a primary goods depot fireman, on trips to Goulburn on steam hauled goods trains, with few exceptions I loved the pigs, with a good driver they were excellent once you were used to them, they hauled the same load as the other engines, including 38's and 59's but with slightly less length loading.  I was also very fortunate to work with one driver who many others did not like, but I learnt a heck of a lot from him as he also showed me many areas of what a driver had to do, simple things like pulling a #4 brake valve down and cleaning them when they got sticky, tips on how to fire pigs and other types on long hauls.

Certainly days that still stick in my mind just as many engine numbers.
  M636C Minister for Railways

I was very fortunate in the last ten years in the United States to have some very enjoyable experiences with Southern Railroad 630 on fan trips which is fitted with Southern Gear. The TVRM crew who maintained the engine tended to agree that Southern was a fine valve gear for freight service but that it was not as maintenance free as generally believed. Although 630 was very well looked after by the TVRM crew, memberes relayed that if left to its own devices, it showed signs of developing lateral movement potentially impacting on its timing, coal and water use. J.W Knowles in his book Queensland Railways Steam Locomotive 1900 – 1969: Design and Operation makes many valid points about valve gear maintenance on the QR and I feel the same could be made about our other railway systems. The same concerns about lateral movement were made about QR’s only Southern fitted locomotive too. My experience with 630 leads me to think that Southern was a fine valve gear but possibly not as infallible as it was marketed to be and fell short of some of our maintenance regimes.
Lowtensionearth

In 1972 I was told by Bill Henderson, The QR Principal Design Engineer, about the problems of the B16-1/2 and its Southern Valve gear, and he mentioned lateral movement.

Indeed the Southern Railway used Southern gear mainly on freight locomotives, but this included, I think, all of their 2-10-2s and some 2-8-2s as well as smaller locomotives. However, contemporary passenger engines generally had Walschearts gear or occasionally Baker gear.

One story I heard, possibly originating in the USA was that Southern gear needed so little attention compared to other gears that the  first indication that something was wrong was when a part fell off. To some extent, the relative lack of sliding elements needing lubrication in the gear led to this view.

This links to an album of Southern steam locomotives:


Southern valve gear was fitted to many older locomotives in replacement of inside Stephenson valve gear.

I mentioned earlier the Argentine Southern Railway 12G class conversions.

Preserved Steam in Argentina Part 1 (internationalsteam.co.uk)

The nineteenth photo (or third last) on the above page shows the 12G locomotive that I saw in preservation.
It shows clearly what a rebuilt 32 class would have looked like (in general terms).
The higher pitched boiler required smaller mountings, and the large cab looks a little odd.

55 class locomotives could easily have been fitted with Walschearts valve gear using the same cylinder castings, although the footplating might have had to be altered to clear the different arrangement.

Peter
  c3526blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: in the cuckoos nest
I can’t admit to having any experience with the 55 class. Older enginemen that I was lucky to work with early in my career seemed to fall into two divides. Some drivers in my home depot where they had been common seemed to rate them quite highly but those who I meet elsewhere that weren’t as familiar generally dislike them. They did tend to agree that they were not a T or TF and needed to be treated as such, however. Also when they were in need of attention they could be heavy on coal and water.

I was very fortunate in the last ten years in the United States to have some very enjoyable experiences with Southern Railroad 630 on fan trips which is fitted with Southern Gear. The TVRM crew who maintained the engine tended to agree that Southern was a fine valve gear for freight service but that it was not as maintenance free as generally believed. Although 630 was very well looked after by the TVRM crew, memberes relayed that if left to its own devices, it showed signs of developing lateral movement potentially impacting on its timing, coal and water use. J.W Knowles in his book Queensland Railways Steam Locomotive 1900 – 1969: Design and Operation makes many valid points about valve gear maintenance on the QR and I feel the same could be made about our other railway systems. The same concerns about lateral movement were made about QR’s only Southern fitted locomotive too. My experience with 630 leads me to think that Southern was a fine valve gear but possibly not as infallible as it was marketed to be and fell short of some of our maintenance regimes.

I am in agreeance on the rebuilding of the 50, 53 and 55 classes. In hindsight there is little reason why they all could not have been rebuilt to an improved type of the same class.
Its a long time since I was on a katie, in their later days, & IIRC there were only 8 left in service, by the time of becoming an A/F the number was down to 6, all allocated to Enfield and worked on locals, the longest trips I had on them was to Penrith & Hornsby, until the last one when a tour to Kiama was arranged & I travelled passenger to Wollongong to work as fireman with Charlie Morris as driver back to Sydney yard, we ran tender first to Thiroul, turned there and engine first the rest of the way. I am not sure of the actual loco number but could have been either 93 or 95, a wampu tender was put on for the trip.

This was the longest working I had on the katies, and with the wampu tender making the work somewhat harder as the shoveling plate was a bit lower than on the other tenders, the amount of coal in the tender was also down, but some shovel forward helped a bit, taking water at Thiroul also had us straight through to Sydney terminal, I don't remember that we took water at Waterfall though.

Charlie worked the firehole door for me as we got near Helensburg as the coal was a long reach, once out of Waterfall very little braking was done as it certainly helped in getting a fair degree of coal shaken down to the front.  All that aside, of the katies I worked on, I found all of them were much rougher riding than the other freighters, something that I heard most drivers speak of regarding them, the best part of them from the firemans perspective was when preparing them we did not have to go underneath to oil the valve gear, unlike the 50's & 53's, to which many of them had belly plate leaks as you climbed up to the eccentrics and balanced on the pit top ledges.

While a primary goods depot fireman, on trips to Goulburn on steam hauled goods trains, with few exceptions I loved the pigs, with a good driver they were excellent once you were used to them, they hauled the same load as the other engines, including 38's and 59's but with slightly less length loading.  I was also very fortunate to work with one driver who many others did not like, but I learnt a heck of a lot from him as he also showed me many areas of what a driver had to do, simple things like pulling a #4 brake valve down and cleaning them when they got sticky, tips on how to fire pigs and other types on long hauls.

Certainly days that still stick in my mind just as many engine numbers.
a6et
a6et,

The engine used on the Kiama trip was 5597.  This was my first trip on a steam tour and as a very impressionable 10 year old I was thereafter hooked on steam and undertook as many tours as I could afford, up until the end of mainline steam in 1973.

Happy reminiscing,

John
  a6et Minister for Railways

Its a long time since I was on a katie, in their later days, & IIRC there were only 8 left in service, by the time of becoming an A/F the number was down to 6, all allocated to Enfield and worked on locals, the longest trips I had on them was to Penrith & Hornsby, until the last one when a tour to Kiama was arranged & I travelled passenger to Wollongong to work as fireman with Charlie Morris as driver back to Sydney yard, we ran tender first to Thiroul, turned there and engine first the rest of the way. I am not sure of the actual loco number but could have been either 93 or 95, a wampu tender was put on for the trip.

This was the longest working I had on the katies, and with the wampu tender making the work somewhat harder as the shoveling plate was a bit lower than on the other tenders, the amount of coal in the tender was also down, but some shovel forward helped a bit, taking water at Thiroul also had us straight through to Sydney terminal, I don't remember that we took water at Waterfall though.

Charlie worked the firehole door for me as we got near Helensburg as the coal was a long reach, once out of Waterfall very little braking was done as it certainly helped in getting a fair degree of coal shaken down to the front.  All that aside, of the katies I worked on, I found all of them were much rougher riding than the other freighters, something that I heard most drivers speak of regarding them, the best part of them from the firemans perspective was when preparing them we did not have to go underneath to oil the valve gear, unlike the 50's & 53's, to which many of them had belly plate leaks as you climbed up to the eccentrics and balanced on the pit top ledges.

While a primary goods depot fireman, on trips to Goulburn on steam hauled goods trains, with few exceptions I loved the pigs, with a good driver they were excellent once you were used to them, they hauled the same load as the other engines, including 38's and 59's but with slightly less length loading.  I was also very fortunate to work with one driver who many others did not like, but I learnt a heck of a lot from him as he also showed me many areas of what a driver had to do, simple things like pulling a #4 brake valve down and cleaning them when they got sticky, tips on how to fire pigs and other types on long hauls.

Certainly days that still stick in my mind just as many engine numbers.
a6et,

The engine used on the Kiama trip was 5597.  This was my first trip on a steam tour and as a very impressionable 10 year old I was thereafter hooked on steam and undertook as many tours as I could afford, up until the end of mainline steam in 1973.

Happy reminiscing,

John
c3526blue
Thanks for the number clarification.  Somewhere I have a photo of a photo stop/run of that trip between Wgong and Thiroul running tender first.  IIRC that was the last photo stop on the trip.

Coming forward to today, I have no real interest in modern railways, and has been that way since I was medically retired at end of 1988, was senior relief driver on XPT working at Werris Creek and had just finished ground tuition on the Deb set allocated there for the Moree running.
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
Its a long time since I was on a katie, in their later days, & IIRC there were only 8 left in service, by the time of becoming an A/F the number was down to 6, all allocated to Enfield and worked on locals, the longest trips I had on them was to Penrith & Hornsby, until the last one when a tour to Kiama was arranged & I travelled passenger to Wollongong to work as fireman with Charlie Morris as driver back to Sydney yard, we ran tender first to Thiroul, turned there and engine first the rest of the way. I am not sure of the actual loco number but could have been either 93 or 95, a wampu tender was put on for the trip.

This was the longest working I had on the katies, and with the wampu tender making the work somewhat harder as the shoveling plate was a bit lower than on the other tenders, the amount of coal in the tender was also down, but some shovel forward helped a bit, taking water at Thiroul also had us straight through to Sydney terminal, I don't remember that we took water at Waterfall though.
a6et
Twas 5597. Some snaps here. http://www.ipernity.com/doc/grahamh/album/466815?with=24120513
  GrahamH Chief Commissioner

Location: At a terminal on the www.
While we are wondering about what could have been I've thought (as an absolute novice when it comes to steam loco design) that the 55cl as a std goods type was backward when there were 35s being built for passenger work. A 2-8-0 using/based on a 35cl could have been built to be a more contemporary, more powerful and able to average higher speeds loco with say 4'6"-4'9" drivers.

I eagerly await explanations of why this could not have happened.
  M636C Minister for Railways

While we are wondering about what could have been I've thought (as an absolute novice when it comes to steam loco design) that the 55cl as a std goods type was backward when there were 35s being built for passenger work. A 2-8-0 using/based on a 35cl could have been built to be a more contemporary, more powerful and able to average higher speeds loco with say 4'6"-4'9" drivers.

I eagerly await explanations of why this could not have happened.
GrahamH
Why do you think that a 35 class was more modern than a 55 class?

Remember that as built, the 55 class had a tapered boiler generally similar to that on the 35.
The 55 class had outside Southern Valve Gear while the 35 had inside Stephenson's valve gear.

Larger driving wheels for a given size of boiler would reduce the tractive effort and the load on the many steep gradients.

A 2-8-2 like the 59 class with 5'0" driving wheels would have the same load capacity with higher speed.
Alco actually built such a locomotive for the Greek Railways in 1917 (so before the 55) but they were only delivered in the 1920s. So it could have been done if the designers wanted to build such a locomotive.

There was a later design 2-8-0 using a 36 class boiler and cab (sometimes described as a D56) which would suggest that it was an alternative to the last series of D55 class. Off the top of my head I think it had the same size driving wheels.

Peter

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